Q&A with British-based singer and songwriter Debra Susan, a classically trained in music theatre and opera

"I hope people can relate to the music and lyrics we have written whether its an upbeat hard Rock song that is riff based or whether its a song like Broken Dreams where it may trigger memories of past experiences. Our variety of songs may well trigger different emotional responses which is great."

Debra Susan: The Soundtrack of Life

Debra Susan is classically trained in music theatre and opera and is the singer/vocalist and co-writer of all songs in the Ritchie Dave Porter and Debra Susan collaborations. Debra started singing at the age of four and this has been a life long passion. Debra received professional training in her thirties from Margaret Davies who was a professional opera singer, now retired, in Ludlow in Shropshire. Debra also plays piano and has been writing songs for a number of years which eventually culminated in the Ritchie Dave Porter and Debra Susan collaboration that has now released five singles, all of which have received airplay in the USA, Europe and Australia.        (Photo: Debra Susan)

Debra was a first Soprano in an auditioned Choir in Ludlow performing live and duetting and previously fronted bands in the Shropshire and West Midlands area. Debra composes melodies and lyrics to all Ritchie Dave Porter and Debra Susan compositions and will be performing at gigs and festivals that will be announced in the near future. Debra writes lyrics and melodies based on her own life experiences.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues and Rock music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Blues and Rock music to me is the most soulful music that makes me feel moved and emotional if its a song such as Led Zeppelin 'Since I've been loving you' as the arrangement and performance is simply beautiful and you can hear the passion and soul of the musicians performing to the very best of their abilities. When I hear Freddie King 'Sweet Home Chicago' I feel like dancing and life feels great, its a song that uplifts my spirit and I always feel great hearing this song. Everyone gets the Blues, but the Blues can improve your perception of the world and make the world a better place.

How do you describe your songbook and music philosophy? What´s been the highlights in your life and career so far?

My songbook is very diverse in that as far as my lyric writing goes, I tend to write songs about my life experiences mixed with some fiction to color the song and make it more interesting to the listener so that the song takes them on a little journey into either a happy place or a reflective state of mind. My musical highlight has definitely been collaborating with Ritchie Dave Porter as we have a very unique songwriting chemistry where Ritchie writes his guitar riffs and chord structures as my musical foundation with my lyrics and melodies layering over this to create a sound that is both exciting and soulful and can Rock the blues or take us to a chilled-out zone if it's a slow jazz blues or rock ballad. When our debut single One Hell Of A Ride was Number One in Australia for Sweet Sunday Sounds, Banks Radio Australia it was a fabulous feeling and definitely a highlight of my musical life and career which followed with four more top ten placings, all number 2.

Do you have any stories about the making of the new singles with Ritchie Dave Porter which you’d like to share with us?

My lyrics are written entirely from a female perspective and are part fact and part fiction taken my life experiences. Certain songs such as Broken Dreams are about the ending of a relationship. Sweet Treacle, however, has raunchy lyrics which were written as ‘a direct result of having listened to Zeppelins Lemon Song where I essentially wrote about sex from a women's perspective, and I thought if Robert Plant can write raunchy lyrics as a man, then I don't see why I shouldn't as a woman. I think Ritchie was a little shocked by my lyrics but once we rehearsed the song Sweet Treacle it absolutely Rocked and felt right so we recorded it with Michael producing and we released it as a single. All my lyrics have a story and all I need to feel inspired is my life experiences coupled with Ritchie’s inventive guitar riffs, chord structures and solos which are the foundation I build on to write melodies and lyrics. Everything begins with Ritchie’s guitar structures and I create my melodies and lyrics over these structures and this works really well.

"Blues & Rock  to me is the most soulful music that makes me feel moved and emotional if its a song such as Leds 'Since I've been loving you' as the arrangement and performance is simply beautiful and you can hear the passion and soul of the musicians performing to the very best of their abilities. When I hear Freddie's 'Sweet Home Chicago' I feel like dancing and life feels great, its a song that uplifts my spirit and I always feel great hearing this song. Everyone gets the Blues, but the Blues can improve your perception of the world and make the world a better place." (Photo: Debra Susan & Ritchie Dave Porter)

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Since collaborating with Ritchie, I have been far more creative artistically as I never know what Ritchie is going to come up with, so I adapt and change whether its Blues, Blues jazz, Rock, hard Rock or folky acoustic music. The chemistry we have had since our first meeting has enhanced our creativity as both musical and personal partners in a romantic relationship.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

There was an honesty with great songs and passion regarding blues and jazz songs of the 1930s to late 1960s that particularly impresses me and inspired me to sing. I also love the early seventies music of Led Zeppelin as they created the most wonderfully unique blues-based Rock that amazed the world at the time and still does to this day. I hope more people will be listening to blues and blues-based Rock or jazz blues in the modern world as these are musical genres where musicians had to really play and play well and with some modern music that is programmed they use effects on vocals so it becomes manufactured and lacks the right vibe because it simply wasn't there in the first place.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

If I could change one thing in the musical world it would be that mainstream radio plays more blues, Rock and Hard Rock with real musicians playing real instruments instead of samples being used as true talent should be recognized when and if a musician is a player of depth, talent and skill.                                  (Photo: Debra Susan)

"My songbook is very diverse in that as far as my lyric writing goes, I tend to write songs about my life experiences mixed with some fiction to color the song and make it more interesting to the listener so that the song takes them on a little journey into either a happy place or a reflective state of mind."

What does to be a female artist in a Man’s World as James Brown says? What is the status of women in music?

I think female artists need to have confidence, determination, appeal and the ability to move audiences and get a great reaction and I personally have a lot of respect for female artists such as Cher, Beth Hart, Etta James, Amy Winehouse as female singers who all had talent and natural ability with great stage presence both live and in the studio which you can hear on their recorded performances. Women in music can vary greatly as far as the image they portray and vocal ability. You can clearly see some greats like Tina Turner that have great charisma and vocal skill who are incredible performers that have set a precedent for all female performers to this day and always will be an inspiration to singers such as myself.

What is the impact of Blues on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want to affect people?

I hope people can relate to the music and lyrics we have written whether its an upbeat hard Rock song that is riff based or whether its a song like Broken Dreams where it may trigger memories of past experiences. Our variety of songs may well trigger different emotional responses which is great.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

I would go back to the 1950s and watch Elvis Presley perform his Rock n Roll in 1957 as I think he was a brilliant performer with a huge amount of charisma that was responsible for millions of people getting into Rock n roll with a blues influence at the time. Without Elvis there would not have been as many musicians wanting to play Rock n roll or even rock music and although I respect and recognize Chuck Berry and Little Richard as great 1950s Rock n roll musicians it was Elvis that I would love to go back in a time machine and see performing.

Ritchie Dave Porter - Home

(Photo: Debra Susan & Ritchie Dave Porter)

Views: 274

Comments are closed for this blog post

social media

Members

© 2022   Created by Michael Limnios Blues Network.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service